YouTube star Austin Jones has been arrested on child pornography charges, the Chicago Tribune reported late last night.
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The 24-year-old musician faces two felony counts of production of child pornography and is currently being held by authorities. The arrest occurred after a criminal complaint was unsealted yesterday, in which it was alleged that he had encouraged two underage female fans — identified as “Victim A” and “Victim B” — to send videos and pictures of them posing and dancing explicitly.
According to the complain, both girls appeared to be hesitant when it came to participating. In a conversation with Victim A, Austin reportedly encouraged her dance in a sexually suggestive manner and “talk about your age the whole time.” While talking to Victim B via Facebook, he reportedly told her that she was “so lucky” to have his attention and suggested that she “prove” that she’s his “biggest fan.”
Austin has more than 500,000 subscribers to his channel, on which he mostly posts covers of pop songs, which has helped earn him nearly 25 million views.
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According to prosecution, he’s remained in federal custody until his hearing because they believe he is a “risk to the community and there’s danger he’ll flee.”
He’s no stranger to controversy.
Two years ago, the YouTuber issued a lengthy apology after he was caught lying about his age to solicit videos of underage women twerking. At the time, he insisted he was seeking help.
“I’ve been in therapy, seeking help to discover why I communicated with my fans in a way that I have come to fully realize was not appropriate,” he said via Facebook. “I’m embarrassed. I’d have conversations online with girls that would involve me asking them to create a video of themselves twerking. Sometimes I’d make videos of myself doing some twerk moves in return. Here’s the truth: I NEVER asked them to do anything more than send a twerking video. Nothing EVER went beyond that.”
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He faces at least 30 years behind bars, if convicted.
Each count carries a minimum charge of 15 years in prison, if he’s found guilty.
He’s expected in court soon.
Austin is slated to appear in court for a detention hearing today, June 14.
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